Monday’s Daily Brief: Palestine demolitions, nuclear watchdog chief dies, UK troops to Mali, Afghan journalist murder condemned, Somalia sexual violence pledge

22 July 2019

Our main stories today: UN condemns Israel’s destruction of Palestinian property; the head of the IAEA dies at 72; UK troops will bolster Mali mission; UNESCO chief condemns Afghan journalist’s murder; Somalia commits to ending conflict-related sexual violence.  

Israel’s destruction of Palestinian property, ‘not compatible’ with international humanitarian law, UN says 

Following Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes in Sur Bahir, three top United Nations officials issued a statement on Monday underscoring that the move was “not compatible” with Israel’s “obligations under international humanitarian law”.  

Emerging information indicates that hundreds of Israeli forces entered the community early Monday morning, while it was still dark.  The large-scale operation forced families out of their homes and demolished a number of residential buildings in the West Bank on the East Jerusalem side of the Barrier.  

Our full report is here

‘Deep sadness’ at passing of UN nuclear agency chief, Yukiya Amano 

The head of the UN body that oversees the nuclear activities of countries around the world has died at the age of 72, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Monday, confirming with “deepest sadness”, the passing of Director General Yukiya Amano.  

Mr Amano, a Japanese national and IAEA head since 2009, was due to step down next March amid reports of an unspecified illness. 

UN chief António Guterres paid tribute, saying that through his stewardship of the IAEA, "Director-General Amano worked tirelessly to ensure that nuclear energy is used only for peaceful purposes. In leading IAEA in such an exemplary fashion, he advanced human well-being through efforts spanning medicine, agriculture and other vital areas". 

For our full coverage, click here.  

250 troops boost UN peacekeeping in Mali  

The United Kingdom is slated to send 250 troops to Mali next year to support the UN peacekeeping operation there, known by its French acronym, MINUSMA

A statement from the UK Government on Monday noted that the soldiers were being deployed in recognition of increased instability in Africa’s Sahel region. 

Their objective will be to deliver “long-term and sustainable peace in Mali” for an initial three-year period. 

According to the Ministry of Defence, the contingent will be based in Gao, eastern Mali, joining a total international force around 12,500 strong. 

Full coverage here.  

UNESCO chief condemns murder of Afghan radio journalist 

The killing of a radio journalist in Afghanistan has been condemned by the head of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, who’s added her voice to calls to catch those responsible for the “gruesome crime”. 

In a statement, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization condemned the murder of Nadershah Sahibzada in the city of Gardiz, 10 days ago. 

Mr. Sahibzada presented an entertainment programme on local radio until he went missing. When his body was found, it showed signs of torture and stab wounds. 

Ms. Azoulay said that she hoped that a successful criminal investigation would help stem future attacks on freedom of expression and on the media, “which have a major role to play in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and efforts to consolidate democracy and rule of law”. 

According to UNESCO, 30 journalists have been killed so far this year.  

Somalia commits to greater efforts to end sexual violence in conflict  

UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, has just wrapped up a visit to Somalia, where she engaged with national authorities there on how to better address conflict-related sexual violence, resulting in a new Government commitment to help end the scourge.  

Accompanied by Deqa Yasin, Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Ms. Patten visited Baidoa for talks with the President of South West State, several members of his Cabinet and civil society organizations. She also met social workers involved in an International Organization for Migration (IOM)- supported Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration project, to assist women and girls formerly associated with extremist group Al Shabab.  

Due to severe security constraints, she was unable to meet with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, however she did liaise with women’s grassroots organizations and service providers in both Baidoa and Mogadishu that provided insight into the immense protection challenges faced by survivors, particularly in displacement settings.  

The visit concluded with an express commitment by the Government to work with the UN, and the Office of the Special Representative to develop a new National Action Plan to End Sexual Violence in Conflict to implement the Joint Communiqué.  

 

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 22 July on SoundCloud: 

 

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